Candidate profile: Lisa Macker

Arianna Vinion

Lisa Macker, an accountant and local business owner, is running for the District Four seat of the Board of Trustees against Kathryn Alexander on Nov. 2.

She believes the skills gained throughout her career will help.

“I know how to communicate numbers to non-accountants in a way they understand,” she said.

Macker feels the cuts to continuing education were made too quickly and without input. She argues that staff, the faculty, the directors of the school themselves should have been interviewed more.

“To me, they just rushed to make some decisions and the impact of that has been this kind of blow up.”

Macker also said the board’s lack of understanding, coupled with its tendency to make quick decisions, has cost it the community’s good will.

She said she doesn’t feel informed enough to comment on past decisions, such as Measure V or Superintendent–President Andreea Serban’s election. But she does think that the “hushed and hurried” manner in which some decisions were made was undesirable.

So, she researched the budget.

“I have no doubts that the school is producing accurate financial information.”

“My concern,” she continued, “is that the trustees are quoting numbers and I can’t trace them back to the financials produced by the school.”

Numbers on Desmond O’Neill’s website and in Serban’s article in the Santa Barbara News Press on June 20 did not match up with the school’s accounting office, she said.

Macker feels that such inaccuracies are unacceptable.

“It seems like they make these decisions, ‘accept budgets’, ‘accept cuts,’ without thorough review and understanding,” she said.

If elected, she would not rush to re-instate all cuts.

Instead, she would research and discuss each cut with the board, faculty, students and community.

“I would consider all cuts that were made individually as presented to the board through faculty committees and the president and consider each one again,” she said.

Macker also disagrees with critics who say she and the other challengers are not as fiscally prudent regarding the budget.

For her, the school’s excellence has to do with more than saving money. It’s also about spending it where it’s needed.

“We can’t sacrifice the current students for this future perceived safety.”

Macker plans to bring transparency to the board, too. Minutes, audio recordings and any future video recordings would be made more easily available to the public.

She also recognizes that the role of board member gives her more access to material than the public.

“There may be instances where I feel I have more facts than they do,” she said, “and I’ll make decisions that may not be publicly friendly.”

But she values public input.

“[The board] needs to respect and even consider that the public has some ideas they may not have thought of,” she said.

She, with the incumbents, claims having “institutional memory.”

“They don’t really get the perspective I have.”

Endorsers of Macker include District Attorney Joyce Dudley, former County Supervisors Susan Rose and Naomi Schwartz, City Council Member Das Williams, and City College Vice President Lynda Fairly.